Five ways to drive value through marketing in a digital world


“Companies that make the deep strategic, organizational, and operational shifts required to become effective digital marketers can become more agile, more productive, and accelerate revenue growth.”
- McKinsey & Company

With all of the latest buzz around digital marketing and the importance of diving in and riding the digital wave to bigger and better opportunities, it's always a good idea to do research on how to contribute and make a positive difference for both your customers and organization.

After reading “The Network is Your Customer: Five Strategies to Thrive in a Digital Age” by David Rogers, Executive Director of the Center on Global Brand Leadership at Columbia Business School, I found that everyone, working separate yet together, can bring value to their organization by implementing the same strategy. Although the book itself is several years old, the theories are still very relevant today. It examines how digital technologies — from smartphones to social media resources — connect us in networks that transform our relationships to businesses and each other.

One way to regard the internet is as a massive marketing laboratory, with people around the world launching experiment after experiment to crack the code that generates sales and customer loyalty with modest results.

Once a straigh line, now engagement with your company is a web of interactions.One constant has emerged to validate “traditional” (non-internet based) marketing best practices - talented marketers can succeed if they work together with colleagues with different – and complementary – skills where each team member learns from the others. With that collaborative approach, marketers will be better equipped to evolve with the fast-moving changes in consumer habits.

Consumers have embraced digital technology across all areas of their lifestyle, and in the process they’ve fundamentally altered how they make purchasing decisions, in many ways creating web of digital content exchanges  that characterize how they might interact with your company.

There are five strategies that came out of that Columbia research conducted through examining hundreds of case studies of businesses of all kinds, trying to understand what makes a successful digital strategy, they are:

1. Access: Be faster, be easier, be everywhere, be always on
2. Engage: Become a source of valued content
3. Customize: Make your offering adaptable to your customers' needs
4. Connect: Become a part of your customers' conversations
5. Collaborate Strategy: Invite your customers to help build your enterprise

These five strategies were identified by examining the core behaviors of customers in their networked lives. While technology keeps shifting every day, the underlying behaviors that drive customers in the online world remain constant. So, they present a huge opportunity for businesses to innovate, and to retain and win new customers. Therefore, rather than focusing on new technologies and tools for marketing to our target audience, we need to rethink our understanding of our customers from their point of views.

According to Stephanie Chandler, Forbes contributor and author of “Own Your Niche”, while many business and marketing departments are working to justify the cost and time investment for developing and managing a successful social media marketing strategy, “an important benefit often gets overlooked: Big Wins”. For example, if someone from LinkedIn connects you with a significant executive that has a project and budget, then that would certainly qualify as a Big Win. If a major media outlet finds you on Twitter and conducts an interview for a national article, then that is also a Big Win, just one that you can’t measure based on revenues directly generated.

Big Wins don’t happen often, but when they do, they make it all worthwhile. It’s easy to forget results like these six months down the road when you’re trying to assess whether your social media efforts are paying off. But that one large sale could cover your social media marketing costs for years. And that major media interview could lead to subsequent interviews and create additional executive awareness three years from now.

So, whether you’ve just started to create a digital marketing strategy or have been implementing one for a while now, make sure you monitor your efforts by tracking results on a regular basis. If you do this diligently you’ll be able to tweak your messaging based on the data that’s derived from your assessments.

Do you have more suggestions on how to get increased success in the digital world? Please feel free to make a comment here or let me know since I would love to hear your ideas!


About Author

Joanne Butzier

Marketing Specialist

Thank you so much for following me! I am a marketing professional and part of the vertical marketing team at SAS, currently supporting Travel & Transportation, Hospitality & Gaming and Services within the Communications, Content and Entertainment Business Unit. While at SAS I have experienced managing the marketing strategies for Manufacturing, CPG, and Retail and have also worked as Sales Program Manager and SAS Business Analyst. Before joining SAS in early 1996, I worked as Regional Marketing Manager for Danskin and Media Buyer for an Advertising Agency in Detroit. In addition to working with a great team of experts and like-minded individuals, I spend much of my spare time as a member of the Board of Executives for the Children’s Leukemia Foundation. I am also a wife, mother of 2 young adults and a seven year breast cancer survivor. When I’m not working, I enjoy traveling, reading, relaxing and have authored two children’s books. Follow me on Twitter at Connect with me on LinkedIn at

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